Police across Philadelphia region crack down on shoplifting amid rise in retail thefts

Maggie Kent Image
Friday, June 14, 2024
Police across Philadelphia region crack down on shoplifting amid rise in retail thefts
Police across Philadelphia region crack down on shoplifting amid rise in retail thefts

PLYMOUTH TOWNSHIP, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Police in Montgomery County say they are cracking down on shoplifting amid an increase in thefts across the area.

"We've seen organized crime groups that span the entire East Coast," said Detective Sergeant Chris Schwartz with Plymouth Township police.

"We see offenders all the way from New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland that are running up and down the East Coast and come to Plymouth for whatever reason and try to commit their crimes here," he added.

Tired of the growing thefts, the Metroplex Shopping Center Target called in police officers for a two-day sting in late May.

During that investigation, police say they caught 11 people.

Shoplifting has been on the rise across the Philadelphia region, however. Some blame self-checkout, while others blame greed.

Police in Lower Merion say a group of teenage suspects stole $63,000 worth of designer handbags from Saks Fifth Avenue in Bala Cynwyd over the weekend.

$63,000 in designer bags stolen from Saks Fifth Avenue in Bala Cynwyd, Pa.

Philadelphia police have their investigators working to catch additional members of a shoplifting ring that has targeted at least 20 high-end stores in Ardmore, King of Prussia, and Center City.

Sources in Upper Merion say the Dior store at King of Prussia Mall was hit by organized shoplifters on Thursday.

The thieves got away by spraying a loss prevention officer with a fire extinguisher.

It has most shoppers looking over their shoulders.

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"Now you're also looking out for your own personal belongings because if they are in here with bad intentions, you're also worried about your kids as well," said Osmond Aydemir of Lafayette Hill.

These most recent arrests in Plymouth Township are a reminder that it's not just security guards on the lookout.

"We're able to work in a cohesive unit so we try and thwart and prevent some of this theft," says Det. Sgt. Schwartz.

Police departments across the five-county area are working toogether, making connections between various "grab and go" thefts and building a case against organized shoplifters.